The Value of the Pieces

The following values are from Yusupov’s Build Up Your Chess book.

1 knight = 1 bishop = 3 pawns
1 rook = 4.5 pawns
1 queen = 3 minor pieces = 2 rooks = 9 pawns

  • A rook is stronger than a minor piece + a pawn
  • A rook + pawn are weaker than two minor pieces
  • A queen is stronger than rook + minor piece
  • A queen is weaker than a rook + two minor pieces
  • A queen is generally not as strong as two rooks or three pieces, but if the King of the player with the rooks is not in a safe position and if it is exposed to a lot of checks, the queen is stronger. Minor pieces must be well protected (by each other or pawns), or else they will be captured by the queen. -S. Tarrasch
  • A rook, minor piece and passed pawn on the 6th (3rd) rank are superior to the queen. The queen is stronger if there is play on both wings. But if play is concentrated on a single wing, a rook and a minor piece are often no worse than a queen.
  • In the middlegame, three pawns are normally weaker  than a bishop or a knight, because the opponent has an extra piece for his attack. Only connected central passed pawns or far advanced pawns are better than pieces.
  • In the endgame, the value of the pawns generally increases, and so the three pawns are normally no worse than a minor piece.
  • In the middlegame, two minor pieces are often stronger than a rook and two pawns.
  • In the endgame, a rook and even a single passed pawn are sometimes better than two pieces.

G. Lisitsin described five factors which influence the relative value of the pieces:

  1. The central position of a piece.
  2. A safe, well protected position.
  3. The activity of the piece.
  4. Coordination with other pieces.
  5. The mobility of the piece.


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Notebook 12/18/2010

Middlegame Position for Study

Review the following position, Black to move and win.
FEN: 8/pp2kppp/4p3/8/1P6/P3PP2/5P1P/2K5 b – - 0 0

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More Threats in Chess

I haven’t been keeping the notebook up because for the past few weeks my chess training has become very simplistic.

1. I continue to practice tactics on until I get 3 incorrect answers which usually takes 15-20 minutes.  Solving tactical puzzles in this fashion is based on David Pruess’  New Way of Training Tactics.

2. I am playing more often, and when I do I am focused on the threats on the board.

3. I’m not reading any books right now, but I am reviewing my played games and addressing any deficiencies by referring to reference manuals. For example, if I lose a King and pawn endgame I’ll refer to Mueller’s Endgame Fundamentals book and so on.

I feel that this threat based play is helping my game out, and I have posted a 2nd part to the original threats post on begin chess and more will be coming shortly as I experiment with my new found thought process.

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Psychology of Chess Weaknesses

The path to chess improvement lies in finding your weakest area of knowledge and placing all of your effort into converting it into a strength. My greatest weakness is an apprehension, bordering on fear, of delving into deep calculations and analysis. This analytical deficiency affects both my combinational and analysis in over the board play , and unless I work to improve these skills, any future chess improvement will be difficult. You tend to avoid or procrastinate working on your weakest area and this is part of the reason why you lack proficiency, since you do not exert the necessary effort in mastering the material that gives you trouble.

Read the rest of the article on

NOTE: I will be posting my training modifications based on the article above in the next few days.

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Training Update Week of 10/4/2010

I have not kept up the training program as of 9/27/2010. I have continued to do 20-30 minutes of tactical puzzles either on or from the Step Method CD and I am playing a few correspondence games and a daily G30 games during my lunch break. I was feeling overtrained, and taking off  1-2 weeks is a good way to stave off training plateaus.

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Training Schedule Week of 9/27/2010

For the past two weeks I have had a difficult time sticking to the schedule, and while my performance at chesstempo has improved over the past few weeks it has become difficult to squeeze in 1 full hour of training. I wrote about training plateaus on my blog, and I think I’m coming accross another plateau at this time. One of the things that came out of the article, was to frequently change your training. In strength training the P90x system changes things around every 30 days, so this is what I need to incorporate into my training program. I have been performing essentially the same training routine since 7/8/2010 and I am overdue for a change…which I’ll have ready for next week’s training schedule.

Monday 9/20/2010
The Middlegame Euwe (pg. 87-90)

Tuesday 9/21/2010
Tactics (Step Method)
Continue reviewing rook and pawn Endgames (pre-lucena / pre-philidor positions)

Wednesday 9/22/2010
Analyze game

Thursday 9/23/2010
Stoyko Exercises

Friday 9/24/2010
ChessTempo Endgame Puzzles

Saturday 9/25/2010
Play & analyze standard game

Sunday 9/26/2010
Review openings {Colle}
Review Master game (Logical Chess Move by Move Game(s) 19)

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